How a Crippled Old Testament Refugee Shows Us the Gospel

Mephiboseth was crippled. Cast out. Helpless. Without hope

Mephibosheth sat and ate at David’s table. And it is comforting and exciting to think of that at the end of history, we are all headed for a meal, too.


Whenever a new king took over an empire in the days of the Old Testament, there were certain threats and dangers that went along with the assumption of the throne. These dangers were heightened when a person outside of the previous monarch’s own family took over. When that happened, the transition was rarely smooth. Immediately people would come out of the woodwork with a claim on the throne and frequently, these people would try to raise their own army to take over the country. Because of those threats, the smart thing for the new king to do would be to take a proactive stance in establishing his authority and power. He would simply dispose of any potential threats. And if he was indeed from a new family, the first people in line for execution would be any remaining family members from the previous dynasty.

David had a long journey to the throne. He had fought off threats both inside and outside of Israel, and his predecessor Saul was less than welcoming to this new person’s claim. Everyone in the land knew about the enmity between Saul and David, so when Saul and his son, Jonathan, were killed in battle, everyone also knew that the rest of Saul’s family were likely to be executed. So 2 Samuel 4 tells us that when the news came about Saul and Jonathan’s death, there was panic in Jonathan’s house. Jonathan had a five year old son named Mephibosheth, and the people of that house knew that his life would likely be in danger. So in fear and haste, Mephibosheth’s nurse picked him up to flee. She picked up him up to quickly however that she dropped him and the fall was so bad that it crippled him in both feet. Then they ran to a new home where hopefully they could be safe.

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